In a photo provided by ESPN, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o pauses during an interview with ESPN on Jan. 18, 2013, in Bradenton, Fla. / Ryan Jones, AP
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o has told Katie Couric that he briefly lied about his online girlfriend after discovering she didn't exist.
Te'o said in an interview to air Thursday on Couric's TV show that he didn't lie about the hoax until December, believing Lennay Kekua had died of cancer. A segment of the interview with Te'o and his parents was broadcast Wednesday on ABC's Good Morning America.
The Heisman Trophy runner-up received a phone call in December from a woman saying she was Kekua, whom he believed had died in September.
Te'o said, "Now I get a phone call on Dec. 6, saying that she's alive and then I'm going be put on national TV two days later. And to ask me about the same question. You know, what would you do?"
Te'o maintained that he had no part in creating the hoax.
"You stuck to the script. And you knew that something was amiss, Manti," Couric said.
Te'o said: "Katie, put yourself in my situation. I, my whole world told me that she died on Sept. 12. Everybody knew that. This girl, who I committed myself to, died on Sept. 12."
Wednesday, the New York Daily News published a story saying it obtained a receipt of flowers Te'o sent Sept.12, the day he believed Kekua had died, from 1-800-FLOWERS.com. It listed "Kainoa Kekua" as the recipient of "36 stems of premium white roses" sent by Te'o with a South Bend, Ind., address.
The message, the newspaper reported, was: "My dearest Lennay, although our time together was brief, I feel like I've known you all of my life. Till we meet again. I love you, Manti."
Te'o's family is included in the Couric interview. His father refuted reports his son used the whole situation for personal gain, perhaps enhancing his prospects on the road to Heisman Trophy voting.
"Now many people writing about this are calling your son a liar. They are saying he manipulated the truth, really for personal gain," Couric says.
"People can speculate about what they think he is," a tearful Brian Te'o told Couric. "I've known him 21 years of his life. And he's not a liar. He's a kid."
Also Wednesday, ESPN's Jeremy Schaap said he was given documents by a person close to Manti Te'o saying they were Te'o's AT&T phone records from May 11 to Sept. 12 of last year, a span that covers the time Te'o said he believed Kekua to be in a hospital in Los Angeles while recovering from a car accident and being treated for cancer.
Schaap had conducted a 2½-hour off-camera interview with Te'o on Friday.
ESPN reported the phone records show Te'o made and received more than 1,000 calls totaling more than 500 hours from the same number in the 661 area code, which covers Lancaster, a part of Los Angeles County.
ESPN said the veracity of the documents could not be independently confirmed.
Tuesday, the woman whose photo was used as the "face" of the Twitter account of Te'o's supposed girlfriend says the man allegedly behind the hoax confessed and apologized to her.
Diane O'Meara told NBC's Today that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo used pictures of her without her knowledge in creating a fake Kekua.
"I've never met Manti Te'o in my entire life. I've never spoke with him. I've never exchanged words with him," O'Meara said Tuesday.
The 23-year-old marketing executive went to high school in California with Tuiasosopo, but she says they're not close. Tuiasosopo called to apologize the day Deadspin broke the story, she said.
Tuiasosopo's former football coach, Jon Flemming, told ABC News on Wednesday, "He's doing good. Wishing everyone would go away.
Flemming said Tuiasosopo is "somebody I'd want my kid to grow up like. He's responsible, respectful, disciplined, dedicated."
Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com
Read the original story: Manti Te'o admits lying; phone records reportedly support story